“I’m just mad about saffron…saffron’s mad about me…”
Actually, I don’t know if I can say I’m mad about saffron, but I think these are quite rightly delicious!
Just think of them as little personal cakes that you don’t need to feel guilty about. One or two isn’t going to ruin whatever diet goal you may have planned, right?
I wanted to make something that combats the gloominess out there. We here living in Pacific Northwest are awaiting the possibility of a great storm of epic proportions, later today. It’s a little difficult for meteorologists to predict, but it could possibly be one of the stronger storms we’ve had in a decade. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a very strong storm, it still has been a very gray, wet, and windy last couple of days. Mostly, I worry about fallen trees causing injury or death, or power outages. It is estimated several hundred thousand people will lose power in western WA. And although our little storm definitely pales in comparison to what has happened in the Southeastern part of our country, yesterday there was a Tornado that hit the Oregon coast! Oy vey!
I also wanted to make something that combats the overall gloominess of the state of our country. More and more it seems that every four years we get more divisive and hateful regarding our political process for electing POTUS. I’ll be glad once a certain presidential candidate disappears from our news feeds, from our current political discourse, hopefully forever. I believe he will not be in the public eye, after November 8th. He even said so. He said that if he doesn’t get elected, he’s not even going to give a concession speech, but rather will disappear and play golf somewhere. That will be a good thing, for all of us. I think Colin Powell summed it up best, through a hacked email, that this certain candidate is a “national disgrace.” It’s exhausting to hear anything about our politicians today, and the bar has definitely been lowered.
So, anyways, here’s to brighter days!
I’m also reminded of our former apartment on Dexter Ave, part of a now demolished 1920’s brick building that had blonde-colored hardwood floors and much sunlight. I remember one weekend morning doing nothing but hanging out with Marge the cat, and having a few madeleines (plain, no saffron or brown butter, but still really good!) with earl grey tea. So good. The combination was fabulous, and I miss those days when we lived there with cheaper rent and also within walking distance to everything! Sadly, the replacement building now being built will feature luxury condo-style apartments that will go for 6K per month! I guess we’ve become San Francisco. That’s what happens when Facebook decides to move a branch into your neighborhood.
Speaking of remembering the past, Marcel Proust, wrote about madeleines in “Remembrance of Things Past”:
“The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it….” but “….as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me …. immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents.”
There is a certain amount of patience to make these, as you first have to make brown butter, and let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours at the least. But that’s it! The rest is crazy easy. And if you make the batter the night before, it can sit in the fridge until you are ready to bake them off in the morning. Enjoy!
Saffron Madeleines (based on this recipe from Food Fashion Party, and a couple of other recipes online)
6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon saffron strands, (crumbled to smaller pieces)*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*This is a lot of saffron. I like it, but feel free to use less of it, like 1/2 a Tablespoon, as it quite strong and a little pricey.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and saffron (crumbled) by sifting into a bowl, then stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
Make brown butter with the 6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter. To do this, heat butter over medium-high heat in a medium sauce pan for several minutes until flecks of brown appear on the bottom, being careful not to cook until they are black. Remove from heat at once and scrape the brown flecks and butter into a small bowl and let cool.
With a hand held electric mixer with beaters on medium high, cream the eggs and the sugar until light and pale, about 5-8 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat again for about 30 seconds.
Add the brown butter in three additions, making sure it is incorporated into the batter. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until all flour is wet. Be careful not to overmix.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours to overnight.
When ready to bake. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter madeleine molds with slightly melted butter, then flour each madeleine mold, tapping out the excess. Set aside.
With a small ice cream scoop the size of a Tablespoon, add one Tablespoon of batter to each madeleine mold.
Bake for about 8-9 minutes. Ovens vary. Be careful not to over or under bake them, as you will lose the bright sunny yellow color. A good time to take them out is when the tops (which will be the bottoms of the cookies) don’t look wet or soft, but are still bright yellow.
Let rest on a cooling wire rack, shell side up. When cool, serve as is, or sprinkle powdered sugar on each shell top. Serve with your favorite cup of coffee or favorite tea.